6 May 2011

Protest rallies urged in Pakistan

3:55 pm on 6 May 2011

Jamaat-e-Islami, the most influential Islamist party in Pakistan, is urging followers to hold mass rallies to demand that the government withdraw its support for war on terror following the killing of Osama bin Laden.

Jamaat-e-Islami says the United States violated Pakistan's sovereignty by sending its own forces into Abbottabad to kill the al Qaeda leader on Sunday.

Anti-American sentiment is high in Pakistan, where religious parties wield considerable influence.

However, there have been few public protests so far against bin Laden's killing.

But the Lashkar-e-Taiba group has held special prayers for bin Laden and called his death martyrdom.

Pakistan has ordered an inquiry into the failure of its intelligence services to locate bin Laden.

The army has publicly admitted there were shortcomings in the way intelligence was gathered on the whereabouts of the al Qaeda leader.

Despite strains in the relationship between the United States and Pakistan, America says it will stand by its ally.

US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said in Rome that Washington and its allies must continue working with Pakistan to fight al Qaeda in that country and Afghanistan.